1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Now in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it. Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine. When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s supper. For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!
By John Grimm
Over the years as a pastor, I have witnessed individuals refuse to receive Holy Communion. I know there have been individuals and churches that taught we are not worthy to receive Holy Communion. However, as we learn from John Wesley, what Jesus commands, we do.
Why do we need Holy Communion? We need to receive forgiveness from God and be reminded that we have forgiveness from God. Receiving Holy Communion often helps us to live a forgiven life. Receiving the broken bread and the poured-out wine also helps us to forgive. That is why some individuals refuse to receive the bread and the wine.
On occasion, it takes time to forgive someone. We know we need to forgive. We know we will be better for it when we do forgive. Refraining from Holy Communion until we forgive another disciple of Jesus Christ is appropriate. We need not delay in giving forgiveness, for we know not what tomorrow holds. Knowing our forgiving another person affects our receiving forgiveness from God changes our understanding of Holy Communion.
Both forgiving one another and receiving the Lord’s Supper are commands from Jesus. We can do both. Receiving the Lord’s Supper without forgiving one another is like eating at home. We overcome divisions in our local churches when we recognize we are members of the church of God. We re-member ourselves to the body of Christ when we forgive one another. Let our love for one another be genuine as we live as the body of Christ, faithfully receiving Holy Communion and forgiving one another.
Jesus, thank you for dying for us. You have shown us how to forgive one another. As we forgive one another we can eat the Lord’s Supper. Thank you for your commands which give us life. Heal the divisions in our local churches so the world can see the Body of Christ living in our local churches. Amen.